The Cheapest Holiday Present

Loving the Light

Silvia Uribe

Last night was a sky-clear, full-moon-lit night in a bluer than usual light. It was quite cold, 48 degrees. It starts feeling like holiday time as soon as my fingers go stiff and my nose hurts a little on the bridge; you know, one of those weird things. As I was sitting in the living room admiring our Christmas tree and the rest of the ornaments around my home, it occurred to me that my family is not the only family that has the tradition of having our home already decorated on the first day of December.

People might have different reasons for being prompt in making their home look festive. For us, though, decorating our home inside and out is a reflection of the love that this season symbolizes and stresses the importance of coming together as a family on a project that allows us to be with, play with, and enjoy each other while decorating. Here’s the best part: We don’t take the decorations down until January 6, after Epiphany, and once the Rosca de Reyes celebration has passed – that’s a Spanish and Mexican tradition that I’ll explain in due time.

Our tradition started almost two decades ago, and has continued every year no matter what our circumstances were, or if we had others around us to help, or which country we were living in. Actually, it didn’t even matter that we didn’t have our home furnished yet one year; we for sure had a decorated tree on December 1. Sitting on the ground, we had enough time to admire our tree as we waited for a week and a half for our furniture to be delivered. Come Hell or high water, our tradition stands.

With all this in mind, I dragged my husband around Goleta just to take a look and see how many homes have been fully decorated in the first three days of December (just before my deadline to turn in this column). It was a nice surprise to see that more homes than I thought were already decorated with some sort of Christmas lights hanging from their roofs and sometimes around the trunk of their front-lawn tree. Not only that, but we were able to also find some homes that were richly decorated; I took some photos.

I’m glad to see that the spirit of the holidays is demonstrated not only with material presents that cost much more than we should be willing to pay, making it very difficult on our pockets, particularly in these grim times that we are living. I’m glad to see the warmth and the love in the form of giving a little to make ourselves and others happy, the cheapest present that we can give, and the one that’s really the most desired.

Since this is a time to share, feel free to share with our Grapevine readers your family’s favorite tradition, the one most special to you, so that the warmth and the love continue to go around.


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